What If? Serious Scientific Answers To Absurd Hypothetical Questions

By Randall Munroe
Publisher: John Murray
ISBN: 9781848549579

Randall Munroe is the creator of xkcd, a web -based cartoon strip of gags, maths and science.

Once upon a time he worked on robotics for NASA, but now makes a living drawing simple cartoons, being sarcastic and sharing his love of the improbable. Part of his site invites people to pose incredibly unlikely questions which Munroe then seeks to answer through his rather brilliant maths and physics knowledge, and a lot of patience researching the fields he knows less about. For example, the cartoon above accompained a question relating to what would happen if you attempted to hit a baseball travelling at 90% of the speed of light.

You’ll also find what would happen to the Earth if you attempted to make a physical version of the periodic table, what would happen if the planet suddenly stopped spinning and the effects of firing a bullet made from a neutron star. They are indeed absurd questions, but the eloquent answers, peppered with the humerous or instructional cartoons, broaden your understanding of some basic scientific principles and remain utterly fascinating, if often deadly.

And if you enjoyed that: Then you’ll love Supercrash by Darryl Cunningham.

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